He takes from the right hand of God the scroll, uniquely worthy to open its seals. Twenty-four elders fall down in reverence before Him while heaven’s halls reverberate with a new song sung in His honor. He was slaughtered yet He lives. Not only does He accomplish something no other person or god could, He extends the reality of God’s love to a world desperately intent on going its own way. This Hero is Christ Jesus and He is our Propitiator.
1 John 2:1,2—My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the righteous One. He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.
Propitiation is not a word you will use often or find common to the English language. Yet without this word applied by the Word, we would be eternally dead. As Pastor Tim and Jan Arensmeier pointed out during the ’81 Advance (more on this later), this theological term is extremely important to us—especially in the arena of forgiveness. Essentially propitiate means to satisfy, atone for or appease. Jesus’ thirty-three years of life on earth were without sin. His enemies crucified Him to be rid of His threat to their status, yet, unwittingly followed God’s set plan to make His Son the solution to our problem.
As the Propitiator, Jesus accomplished three critical things. First, He expiated our transgression, thereby, making us pious. Our sin is removed by His sacrifice. Second, He makes us favorable before God Whose emotional and moral wrath towards our evil is satisfied. He stood in our condemned place and satisfied the justice God demanded for us to enter His presence. Third, He fulfills the love of God Who created us to have an eternal relationship with us! John Stott rightly clarifies in his book, The Cross of Christ, that propitiation “does not make God gracious . . . God does not love us because Christ died for us, Christ died for us because God loves us.”
The question left hanging is what will we do about this great divine intervention? God’s action through Jesus, though universal in scope, is selective in application. According to Scripture, only those who rightly confess their sin and apply genuine faith in Jesus can hope for Him to propitiate. The Judge will not force anyone to call upon His Son for help—faith must come freely. But “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Nor will He let Jesus be the Advocate for those Who scorn, dismiss Him or put their trust in self-effort or some other savior. Salvation is found in no other system of belief, no other religious icon or figure. There is only One Savior worthy whereby we can find access to heaven . . . something to think about . . . in reveration!
©2007 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)